A Talk With The Designer Behind Vetememes

Following on the footsteps of the much-discussed and applauded Vetements presentation in Paris earlier this month, up popped a website offering a parody take on a raincoat from a prior collection of the French label, emblazoned on the back with the label name Vetememes. A little digging and we discovered it was produced by Brooklyn-based Davil Tran, who is not only well versed in the concept of parody labels, but is also an employee of the buzzy brand resell site Grailed.com, essentially the belly of the beast for what’s hot and what’s not in menswear. We had a quick chat with Tran to find out what the plan is for Vetememes, but also–once we found out where he’s employed–hear his view on the current state of menswear.

Q: When did you come up with the Vetememes idea?
DT: I was considering it for a while. It’s also from the hype Vetements got in the past few months, the brand kinda just blew up and you can’t see street style without seeing that brand and I wanted to create a meme out it.

Q: Is this your first time launching a brand like this?
DT: I have a background in creating parody brands with my friends; I had a Spreadshirt account called Fuccboi with jerseys with designers names on them. It was pretty hype for a while. I did it as kind of a joke and it blew up.

Q: Where are you with production of the raincoats?
We’re in the process of working on them. The response has been really positive, Fashionista just Tweeted something.

Q: You got a bunch of press coverage!
DT: I was geeked about that. It was on Vogue!

Q: It’s amazing how much Vogue‘s coverage has changed over the past year or two. It never used to cover streetwear. 
DT: Time changes, it’s not always the same editors.

[We take an aside to talk shop about the titans of streetwear coverage, HighSnobiety, Complex and Hypebeast and agree that while they all have a place, Hypebeast literally is THE beast when it comes to volume of content and global coverage of the space.]

Q:  My thing would be that the concept of memes and parody is a bit fatigued, at least with luxury brand parodies. Do you see that at all?
DT: It’s almost a modern art form. Some aspects have faded but others haven’t.

Q: Are you a fan of Vetements?
DT: Its stuff is pretty cool. I have a raincoat myself.

Q: There are already people saying it’s over-hyped and it’s primed to fall off. 
DT: I think the opposite of that will happen. When anything is successful, there will also be doubters.

Q: How long have you been into streetwear and men’s fashion?
DT: I started collecting when I was around 16, like vintage Comme des Garçons, Junya [Watanabe], Yōhji [Yamamoto], stuff like that.

Q: Do you mind saying how old you are?
DT: I’m 22.

Q: You’re young! But that’s good, you probably have an accurate feel about where things are with men’s fashion. Where do you think streetwear is going?
DT: I don’t even like streetwear. I think the people associated with it, ruined it. They don’t know how to dress and go by trends and dress boring. It’s become a template.

[Somewhere in this exchange, Tran reveals he’s making the call from Grailed.com, and we start discussing how it is working there. Apparently the company is doing well and growing.]

Q: What’s the hottest brand at Grailed?
DT: Supreme, it’s the top selling brand.We have a tons of designer brands, but Supreme is No. 1 with no close second.

[We take another aside to discuss the pros and cons of Supreme and how our view is skewed and more cynical because we  live in New York, but in the end agree we respect the brand.]

Q: What designers do you like?
DT: I really like what Yōhji [Yamamoto] is doing. I feel like his style is never really copied and he’s still doing his thing after 30-40 years of designing. All of his designs are still true to his aesthetic and right now trends are even steering away from that artisanal look he’s known for.

Q: How do you feel about Y-3?
DT: I hate Y-3, I don’t think [Yamamoto] has a say in it. I think it’s something to put his name on. It’s mostly Adidas.

Q: That’s probably true, that’s how it works with most collaborations. And a lot of what Y-3 brought to the table has been co-opted by Adidas Originals silhouettes so it feels watered down. 
DT: Definitely.

Q:Do you worry about trademark issues with Vetements?
DT: No, there are other big names that do parody. Vetements themselves parodies the shipping company DHL, plus it’s done stuff related to Champion and Levi’s.

UPDATE 04-02-16: When contacted by the NY Times, Vetements designer Demna Gvasaliasaid said the label has no plans to sue Vetememes for copyright infringement: “Vetements will not be filing any lawsuits over the Vetememes raincoat and hope that he has enjoyed making his project as much as we do making our clothes.”

Q: Is there more coming beside the raincoat?
A: Probably, if this works out we’ll see.

If you ‘re interested in pre-ordereding a jacket, visit the Vetememes site here.

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